Launched May 2003, LinkedIn has gained popularity as a professional networking social network. As of October 2009, LinkedIn had more than 50 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.
Many of our association clients and colleagues have adopted LinkedIn as a strategy to engage their audience, build relationships, and ultimately drive membership, donations, program registrations and product sales. Putting it another way, it offers a valuable piece of social media “real estate”…at no cost!!
Here are 3 ways to add LinkedIn to your organization’s communications tool box!
1. Create a Company page
- Select Companies (next to Answers at the top of the screen)
- Click “Add a Company” and follow instructions
Company pages help people find you based on your specialties and industry described. You can automatically feed News Feeds and blogs and post job openings on your company page.
2. Create a Group
- Select Groups (below Home on the left column of personal profile)
- Click “Create a Group” (on the right side of the screen) and follow instructions
LinkedIn Groups provide another avenue for associations and chambers of commerce to create greater awareness and connect with their members. They are the perfect forums for their members to post Discussions, News and Job openings. Associations can also organize private Subgroups for their committees and keep their fingers on the pulse of issues on their members’ minds.
If you don’t belong to a Group and would like to see this, ask to join The Trenton Club and I will approve you. A couple other examples of association groups: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and The College of New Jersey/TSC Alumni. Again, Groups are ideal for organizations whose members want to interact in this way, regardless of membership size.
WebStudio13 posted this excellent overview of the 30 Top LinkedIn Groups for Entrepreneurs, eMarketers, and Social Media Enthusiasts.
3. Connect with employee profiles
Ask employees to create personal profile pages and promote the association in the following ways they may feel comfortable:
- Edit or add job position by selecting your organization name exactly as it appears on the Company page. This will automatically connect them with your LinkedIn Company page.
- Invite “star” former staff to add your association as previous position on their profiles. Seeing your former membership director or lobbyist heading up another company reflects well on your organization. Success breeds success! And you have control of removing less than stellar former employees from your Company page if necessary.
- Add company Twitter Feed to profile. This is a new feature that allows more than one Twitter account postings to appear on profile.
How to add Twitter feed to your personal profile:
*Enter email and password for the LinkedIn personal profile;
*Select Twitter Settings under Profile Settings;
*Add Twitter Account using the username and password of your organization’s Twitter account;
- ABSNJ [ Remove]
- Add another Twitter account
Display your Twitter account on your LinkedIn profile
Share your tweets in your LinkedIn status
So you’re on LinkedIn…now what? Before you can drive traffic from LinkedIn to your website or blog, you must first drive traffic to LinkedIn. Here are three easy ways to help do that:
- email signature – include invitation / links to all your key social media sites
- same thing on your website
- and on business cards. Interesting article from Catalyst Marketers: Socialize Your Business Cards.
LinkedIn Applications: Need to tweet your followers? There’s an app for that! Want to post a presentation document, video invitation or conduct a poll? There are apps for that too. You can share just about any print, video or audio piece with your audience using the LinkedIn applications.
Most of the 13 Applications provide a completely free (or complimentary basic) version of helpful tools. Two of my favorites apps:
WordPress by WordPress
Connect your virtual lives with the WordPress LinkedIn Application. With the WordPress App, you can sync your WordPress blog posts with your LinkedIn profile, keeping everyone you know in the know.
I haven’t touched on the features available to premium account holders – compare Account Types & fees before migrating to a paid version of LinkedIn.
How is your organization using LinkedIn? I welcome feedback about additional ways to use this powerful tool!
Karla Tillman Pollack is co-Founder and Principal of Association Business Solutions, Inc. (ABS), an association management company headquartered in Trenton, NJ. ABS provides association management, writing, marketing, nonprofit financials, social media communications, government affairs and PAC management services on a full-service or project basis.